A SpaceX Starship SN4 prototype launch vehicle exploded in Boca Chica, Texas, after a Raptor engine caught fire during a static test this afternoon. SpaceX is working to find out what caused the engine to catch fire. No one was hurt.
SpaceX has been hoping to replace its current Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket models with the new Starship—still in an early development phase. The company had received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for short test flights earlier this week. These tests will no longer be possible as the vehicle was destroyed in the explosion.
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) September 1, 2016
This is not the first time a Starship vehicle failed during a test—a couple of them went down during pressure tests. SpaceX is working on other prototypes close by and will likely resume testing quickly.
These efforts are unrelated to the company’s Commercial Crew program, which includes a mission bound for the International Space Station. That mission, the first by a private company to carry astronauts into space, should still launch Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather.